Home>Articles>RECAP: SB 167, The Bill That Would Give Backup Power To Those Affected By Wildfires

Senator Bill Dodd. (Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

RECAP: SB 167, The Bill That Would Give Backup Power To Those Affected By Wildfires

During temporary power shut offs, power companies would need to keep their most vulnerable customers powered.

By Evan Symon, September 26, 2019 2:20 am

Under SB 167, those receiving medical baseline allowances, such as people who cannot leave their home due to their illness or condition, would continue to receive power in areas that otherwise wouldn’t have it due to wildfires.

What is it? 

Senate Bill 167.

SB 167 would require each electrical company in a wildfire affected area to continue to power the homes of people who cannot leave because of a medical condition or who could otherwise not afford some sort of backup power, such as a generator. Power would be guaranteed during times of temporary power shut offs, such as when they are repairing electrical lines damaged by wildfires.

Electric companies would also have the option of giving financial assistance to those for other power options if they meet the specified requirements.

Who Backed It? 

SB 167 was introduced by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa). Senator Dodd was behind the bill because of the number of people inside and outside his district who lost power during planned shut offs after wildfires in the past few years, and needed it for medical reasons.

Since the shut offs post-wildfire are a new experience for many going through their first wildfires, many people have not known or did not expect long periods without power. The bill is designed to rectify that.

“The last thing we want to do is have a situation like that hurting people,” said Senator Dodd earlier this month. “This is all new to everybody.”

The bill has received a lot of support, with firefighter groups and public safety organizations, as well as numerous local government groups, supporting the bill.

What happened?

SB 167 has passed unanimously through every committee, as well as the Senate and the Assembly. 

It was amended a few times in August, but it was mostly to change the wording of some parts and to fix numerous typos.

No known opposition has opposed SB 167, with both parties agreeing in full on the bill.

Current Status:

Governor Gavin Newsom had pledged to give more resources to fighting wildfires on the campaign trail last year and early on in his term this year. It’s all but certain that he’ll sign.

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